There’s always a first time. I had a first this past weekend – a flat tire on my bicycle. I am not an avid biker; I bike for leisure and pleasure every now and then. This Sunday was a perfect spring day here in New York and I woke up saying to hubby Alan, “let’s bike over the George Washington Bridge; we’ve never done that before.” There’s a beautiful path along the Hudson River which goes from lower Manhattan all the way up to the bridge, about 13 miles. We picked up the path about 5 miles before the bridge and biked along parts we had never been. It’s always an adventure discovering new areas. Huge barbeques with tents pitched along the river, it’s a great backyard for the apartment dwellers of upper Manhattan.
The route up to the bridge was quite hilly through beautiful natural preserve areas I never knew existed. Traveling by car along this route my entire life never allowed me to see all these inner, hidden paths of nature.
Riding along the walk/bike path over the bridge afforded me a fresh perspective of a view I have seen for decades. Stopping to take pictures, seeing for the first time a little red lighthouse at the base of the bridge, feeling the city skyline blowing towards me, was a fun treat.
Being a slow leisurely rider (although a very fast walker) I tell Alan to go ahead and ride at his comfortable speed. As I neared the end of the bridge, I suddenly can’t seem to get my balance well. I’m swerving too much. I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Then I think, maybe the basket is hitting the wheel in an off position. I get off and check and lo and behold I see my front tire is totally flat and almost off the rim. My first thought is, “Oh no, now what.” Then I quickly switch into the thought of “this is quite amusing; I have never even thought of the possibility of a flat tire on a bike. And it’s a good thing I’m at the end of the bridge; and at least this didn’t interfere with our doing what we set out to do. This is good timing.” I’m in a pretty good mind-set walking this ‘lame’ bike down the last piece of the bridge on the New Jersey side. There’s Alan waiting with his hands up in the air, motioning ‘where the heck are you already?’
I meet up with him and we quickly figure that Alan will ride back to get the car and I’ll find a shady place to sit and wait. A bit further down, we see a tow truck and a police car by the curb. We tell them what happened thinking maybe the tow truck driver could take him back to our car, but no; he couldn’t – or wouldn’t- do it. Whatever. We don’t push it when he tells us there’s a bicycle store down the road about half a mile. Another new and pretty area to walk along. We confirm that the tow truck guy is right by asking a couple of bikers along the way. “Yes,” we are told, “keep on going.” After a few minutes, we decide Alan should ride his bike ahead to see if and where this store is; it isn’t so easy walking a flat-tired bike. Of course he comes back within a couple of minutes to say the store is right down the road.
There was our oasis – the only store in this immediate area – a big, beautiful bicycle shop. This is a main biking spot leading to many paths into northern New Jersey and New York. Boy, we lucked out. And considering the store was fairly crowded due to a big biking event, we were in and out within 20 minutes with a good-as-new bike.
We had to be back in New Jersey in an hour and a half for a friend’s daughter’s graduation party. Wow, we had just enough time to pedal our way back to New York over the beautiful bridge and back along the Hudson River trail. I smiled the whole way back. I was so grateful. It was all good…
I hadn’t fallen off the bike when the tire got flat. By the way, Alan plucked out a huge bent tack from the tire. (silly me threw it away; would’ve been a great picture with the tire).
We were on the ‘right’ side of the bridge, in my view. I would’ve been so disappointed had it happened earlier where it might have interfered with our bike trip and cut it short.
There just happened to be a bicycle shop near enough for us to get to.
It happened to be open, despite many stores in Bergen County being closed on Sundays due to the Blue Laws still in effect.
The bike got fixed quickly with enough time to continue our lovely ride back and still make it on time for our party.
Now what do you call all that?!